The first dive was a second visit to the Northcoates wreck (we had dived this wreck earlier in the season). We arrived at the wreck at low slack after a very smooth sea had allowed us a trouble free and very relaxing ride from the Marina. On arrival there was a hard boat with four divers in the water on the wreck already. Initially we were going to dive using the hard boat’s shot as we didn’t want to drop a shot on one of their divers, however, by the time our first group of divers had kitted up the other divers had surfaced and so we dropped our own shot.
I was to dive first, making up a three with Steve and Jacqui. After a buddy check we entered the water and descended the line to the wreck. Jacque laid a line between the shot and the wreck and then we started to explore.
At this point Steve indicated a problem and so we settled on the edge on the deck. It became apparent that Steve’s weight belt had worked loose and had slipped dangerously low. I established a grip on the superstructure of the wreck and held onto Steve’s cylinder handle in case the belt became detached. Jacque then tried to sort the belt out. Despite trying to relocate and secure the belt it was proving impossible. As it became obvious that this was not going to be resolved easily, we decided to abort the dive. As we were concerned that the belt could become detached, resulting in a rapid ascent, we decided that we would perform a CBL so that Steve could maintain a grip on his belt. Jacqui and I deployed the DSMB and then I performed a CBL with Steve, ascending the DSMB line with Jacqui below controlling the reel. We ascended without further incident at a nice controlled rate although the safety stop was a little short!
A debrief on the boat concluded that the excellent BSAC training had enabled us to remain calm and in control throughout the incident. I commented to Steve that I could actually hear Jenny’s voice in my head quoting the “Incident pit”, as we decided to abort the dive. (SB – thanks to ‘Bob’ for allowing us to report this.)